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Unsourced material may be challenged and removed. Rama with his wife Sita and brother Lakshmana during exile in forest, manuscript, ca. Indian epic poem which narrates the struggle of the divine prince Rama to rescue his wife Sita from the demon king Ravana.
Along with the Mahabharata, it forms the Sanskrit Itihasa. The epic, traditionally ascribed to the Hindu sage Valmiki, narrates the life of Rama, the legendary prince of the Kosala Kingdom.
It follows his 14 year exile to forest from the kingdom by his father King Dasharatha, on request of his third wife Kekayi. His travels across forests in India with his wife Sita and brother Lakshmana, the kidnapping of his wife by Ravana, the demon king of Lanka, resulting in a war with him, and Rama’s eventual return to Ayodhya to be crowned king.
The Ramayana is one of the largest ancient epics in world literature. It depicts the duties of relationships, portraying ideal characters like the ideal father, the ideal servant, the ideal brother, the ideal wife and the ideal king. Ramayana was an important influence on later Sanskrit poetry and Hindu life and culture. Like Mahabharata, Ramayana is not just a story: it presents the teachings of ancient Hindu sages in narrative allegory, interspersing philosophical and ethical elements.
The characters Rama, Sita, Lakshmana, Bharata, Hanuman, Shatrughna, and Ravana are all fundamental to the cultural consciousness of India, Nepal, Sri Lanka and south-east Asian countries such as Thailand, Cambodia, Malaysia and Indonesia. There are many versions of Ramayana in Indian languages, besides Buddhist, Sikh and Jain adaptations. There are also Cambodian, Indonesian, Filipino, Thai, Lao, Burmese and Malaysian versions of the tale. According to Hindu tradition, Ramayana takes place during a period of time known as Treta Yuga.
In its extant form, Valmiki’s Ramayana is an epic poem of some 24,000 verses. The text survives in several thousand partial and complete manuscripts, the oldest of which is a palm-leaf manuscript found in Nepal and dated to the 11th century CE. A Times of India report dated 18 December 2015 informs about the discovery of a 6th-century manuscript of the Ramayana at the Asiatic Society library, Kolkata. The Ramayana text has several regional renderings,recensions and sub recensions.